A Film and TV Review by Tim Riley


GOOD BOYS”(Rated R) Comedic actor, writer and director Seth Rogen may have been a creative force behind films like “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express,” but for “Good Boys” his presence is felt even if only as one of the producers.

In all respects, “Good Boys,” which is prominently rated R in its advertising, is the crass, vulgar silliness that one expects from a Seth Rogen project, and it could prove offensive to some viewers.

The odd thing is that the central characters involved in the shenanigans are a trio of 12-year-old sixth graders who call themselves the “Beanbag Boys” at their middle school. The narrative anchor to the story is Max (Jacob Tremblay), who seems to be the one in the group most interested in girls, particularly a classmate with whom he appears not to have ever engaged in a conversation.

Invited by a bunch of cool kids to a kissing party, Max realizes that this could be his opportunity for a first kiss with his crush, Brixlee (Millie Davis), who he wishfully imagines to one day marry.

Max and his buddies, Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams), don’t have the first clue about puckering up with a member of the opposite sex, and they need instruction fast. First they turn to the Internet, only to find some really disturbing but funny videos. The next plan is not any better as it involves spying on teenage neighbor Hannah (Molly Gordon), catching her in a clinch with a boyfriend.

Borrowing Max’s dad’s drone for surveillance, things go wrong when Hannah and her friend Lily (Midori Francis) destroy the drone, and the boys resort to theft of Hannah’s purse which has a supply of the illegal substance “Molly.”

A wild adventure ensues when the girls chase after the boys to retrieve the drugs, and the boys need to find a way to buy a replacement drone before Max’s dad (Will Forte) returns from a business trip and Max is grounded for life.

Max is not alone in his worries. Lucas is coping with the news that his parents are splitting up and Taco Tuesdays could be in jeopardy. A talented singer, Thor struggles with trying to be tougher than he really is.Because getting a new drone is so vital, they skip school and set off on an odyssey of epically bad decisions that include dealing with a frat house to get drugs, stealing a beer from a convenience store and dashing across a busy freeway.

A lot of the humor in “Good Boys” is that the tweens encounter situations and inanimate objects with which they are vastly unfamiliar. Funny bits involve a dildo and thinking that anal beads make a necklace.

An even funnier scene happens when the boys mistake a sex doll for a CPR dummy for kissing practice and later sell it to a creepy older guy (Stephen Merchant) who had intended only to buy a rare fantasy game card.

Yes, the comedy borders on the dumb, juvenile and gross, while the boys curse like sailors on shore leave, and the trademark shock humor of the Seth Rogen variety abounds in spades.

The surprise is that “Good Boys” manages to juggle the raunchy comedy with an air of innocence, and in the end the “Beanbag Boys” redeem themselves as the nerdy kids of their true selves.